Reeling Leafs Hit Big Apple To Face Red-Hot Rangers
Monday, 10.12.2009 / 7:00 PM
MAPLE LEAFS (0-3-1) at RANGERS (4-1-0)
This will be their first meeting of 2009-10. The Leafs took 3 of 4 from the Rangers last season, including the last three matchups. Rangers backup Steve Valiquette won 1-0 in a shootout on Oct. 17, 2008, but Henrik Lundqvist was the loser in the final three games.
The Rangers are playing their second game in as many nights after winning their fourth in a row Sunday, a 3-0 victory against the Ducks. The Leafs are still in search of their first victory and have allowed 17 goals in four games.
– After an opening-night loss in Pittsburgh, the Rangers have been red-hot in their last four games. And in Sunday's win against Anaheim, the Rangers showed patience after being unable to crack Jean-Sebastien Giguere
"I think the biggest thing is you can't get frustrated," Rangers coach John Tortorella said. "You just have to stay the course."
Lundqvist is expected to be back in net Monday after getting a day off Sunday.
– It was supposed to be a new beginning under Leafs GM Brian Burke. He built a more physical team that was expected to lead to an improvement over last season's team that finished 12th in the Eastern Conference. So far, it's as if nothing has changed.
"It is depressing here right now," Leafs coach Ron Wilson told the Toronto Star after a 5-2 loss to Pittsburgh on Saturday night. "We've got to find a way to get some momentum early in the game. That's what's fallen off."
Perhaps the Leafs can use last season's success against the Rangers to boost their confidence heading into a stretch where they play 6 of their next 8 games away from Air Canada Centre.
– Marian Gaborik has registered at least one point in each of the Rangers five games this season (four goals and seven points) and Michael Del Zotto and Vinny Prospal have four-game point streaks on the line Monday. Toronto's Matt Stajan has three goals in his team's first four games.
– Leafs goalie Jonas Gustavsson
(groin) is out and teammate Viktor Stalberg is questionable for Monday with an undisclosed injury. The Rangers have no recent significant injuries.
–Del Zotto leads all rookie scorers with 5 points (2 goals) in five games. Leafs goalie Vesa Toskala, who is expected to start Monday, has a 4.97 GAA, good for 48th in the League.
– The Rangers would like to avoid a letdown after Sunday's win that was anything but easy, and the Leafs would like to get their first win of the season. The only other winless team in the League is the Islanders, but they've played one fewer game than Toronto.
-- Dave Lozo, NHL.com